What was the biggest game changer that turned your passion into a career and tell us more about B_fit_bites?
I was thinking of starting the business a year before I actually did but was hesitant. I used to bake for myself and my husband at first until I started baking for my friends and they all loved it, so I decided to expand my horizons.
I’ve been cooking and experimenting with healthy desserts for 2 years before I started my business, ever since I got sick. From then on, my body no longer tolerated many foods such as wheat, dairy (casein to be exact), processed sugars and other processed products, the list is long. Therefore, being such a huge foodie lover and noticing that there are not many options in the UAE for healthy and tasty desserts/food, it was torture for me.
I needed to find a solution, so I started cooking for myself and experimenting and that is what gave me the idea of starting such a concept, as I wanted to help people that could be going through the same struggles I did. At the same time, finding something of my own that I love and enjoy doing as a career to keep me busy while helping others at the same time, thus B_Fit_bites was born. So I designed my own logo, business card/stickers and worked on testing the desserts, calculating the nutritional information as well as coming up with a vast variety of options that would suite different tastes. At the same time I am able to tweak most of the desserts to suite specific diets or sensitivities so everyone can enjoy them.
Even further I add on my Instagram page useful information about the ingredients I use or don’t use so as to help keep people aware of the benefits or harms of products. I believe we need to look at the nutritional factors and the ingredient benefits as a whole to get a healthy outcome. Some people are unaware that eating a dessert with all natural ingredients no matter the calories has no comparison to a normal unhealthy dessert. For example, Nuts may be high in fat or calories but they are good healthy fats that benefit you. Keeping in mind, everything should be eaten in moderation, even healthy food.
In my search for healthy options I noticed that gluten free products that I did find in the market use white sugar or brown sugar and are claiming their products to be healthy just because it is gluten free however that does not necessarily mean it is completely healthy as it has processed sugars, oils, butter and so forth that are harmful. White sugar itself is considered white poison to the body and brown sugar is just white sugar dressed in brown clothing even though marketers would like us to believe it is healthy. I try to use the best high quality and healthy ingredient options to make my desserts as healthy and tasty as possible. I believe that you are what you eat, as I learned that the hard way with my health. Only when I start eating nutritious do I start to feel and look better so why not start somewhere, even if it’s with desserts.
To explain further, I use sweeteners that are natural, raw and have a low glycemic index. Such as coconut sugar which has a GI of 35, rice syrup which has a GI of 25 and dates which has a GI of 60. I do also add honey or agave syrup when requested. I use Organic Virgin coconut oil and butter which are known for its anti-inflammatory and weight loss benefits. I use raw unsweetened cacao powder and nut butter’s that have no added sugars as to keep my dessert’s as clean as I can. I do also offer semi-sweet, or dark chocolate for the customer’s that want something different. All the flours I use are Gluten and wheat free. I also make my own egg replacements for customer’s that have egg allergies and so forth. I try to accommodate a variety of options for everyone’s specific conditions. The best part is that they are still tasty even though they are healthy.
Name your 3 favorite B-fit-bites dessert items?
I am asked a lot by customers what are my best sellers or what I think are the best from my desserts but I personally love all my desserts and I have difficulty saying what items are the best in general since everyone has different tastes and favorites, because what I like more may not be the case for others. But if I had to choose 3 of my favorites I’d have to say the avocado chocolate cupcakes, the lava cakes, and the gluten free brownies.
Any plans for the future you would like to share?
I hope god willingly that I will either open my own bakery here or sell to retailers .The kinks haven’t worked out yet but hopefully in the coming new year will have good news.
Can you tell us about the challenges that occur and how you deal with them?
So far there haven’t been many challenges, but I have had to deal with finding drivers that keep to their word and schedules. It isn’t easy as they have a lot of deliveries to get too other than mine especially if it is outside of Abu Dhabi. As well, when you have a driver that decides not to show up on the day of delivery you improvise and need to find a replacement. One time due to it being Eid day I had a driver who decided he didn’t want to keep his word and deliver my order and I had to pay triple the amount of delivery from my pocket to find another driver willing to deliver my order. I learned my lesson that if we are unsure when Eid day will be I give the orders out before hand so I don’t fall in the same situation again.
Even more, I do all my work and baking alone which does get a bit hard at times for me to balance my own personal life and getting the orders done, packed and sent out. I do the work of more than one person on my own. However, with time I’ve grown better at knowing what my capabilities are and how to balance it out. One solution to that is my hope of opening up my own place and having more space to hire help and hopefully expanding.
Another challenge is acquiring the products and the high prices of all the products I use. I have found a supplier for some of the flours but a lot of my products I buy on a day to day basis from the organic stores, lulu, ect. And they are not cheap. So far I haven’t solved this issue completely yet, but hopefully once I am able to expand it will be easier to solve and find more suppliers.
Where do you draw most of your inspiration?
I’d have to say from helping others, my religion and my family. My husband is one of my biggest supporters who inspires me on a daily basis. His support, ambition and hard working nature helps me aspire to be the best I can for myself, for others, for him and my family.
One of the biggest factors for me as well, is my religion, which has helped shape the person I am today. Islam teaches us to help others and to educate yourself, to open your mind to knowledge, to treat others the way you want to be treated, to be just and fair with all races and people, to give back to others in need, to be humble and kind. When we look at who to aspire to we look first to the teaching in the Quran, than to the prophet peace be upon him and his teachings. I try my best to abide by that and I believe that helping others even in the smallest way and putting a smile on another person’s face is the best reward you can get and what Islam teaches us to be.
I believe eating healthy food can heal, so if you can find a tasty option that is healthy for you why not opt for it or provide it to others?
I saw firsthand how food heals as I used to have insulin resistance but I healed myself with food. Once I completely eat right my body shows me the results. Therefore, when I know I am helping a person that has celiac disease or autism or diabetes or just someone who wants to be healthy and enjoy it, that is what inspires me to keep going. My customers and their appreciation are what make all my heard work pay off. All of these inspirations for me are interrelated.
What’s your favorite quote ?
Everything happens for a reason
How do you start your day?
With a smoothie or the miracle juice or a good breakfast
What makes you laugh, smile and be joyful?
Doing things I love and enjoy like Swimming, being in or around the sea, baking, painting, reading a great book or watching a good movie, spending time with my loved ones, and above all eating yummy food.
What’s your typical meal for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks?
When I have the time I always liked to do something different and experiment even if it’s only one of the meals throughout the day.
Breakfast would be egg in an avocado baked in the oven or chia puddings or porridge with fruits and nuts, I have on occasion made my own healthier grilled cheese sandwich using gluten free ciabatta rolls and using coconut oil and lactose or dairy free cream cheese spreads with scrambled eggs or buckwheat pancakes or just one of my smoothies. Breakfast is always my favorite meal of the day
Snack would be one of my desserts or bites.
Lunch: zucchini noodles with meat/chicken balls and tomatoe sauce or gluten free pizza or even make my own healthy spicy coconut dual with lemongrass rice using brown rice
Snack: fruits or rice cakes with nut butter or one of my desserts
Dinner: cheesy jalapeño baked chicken poppers and some vegetables on the side or with a healthier version of “pao de queijo” Brazilian cheesebreads but I make it using sweet potatoes (I sometimes eat it as a snack or breakfast too when I have left overs) or I go for chia puddings when I want to eat a light dinner or soup.
If you could pick one meal to eat over and over again, what would it be?
This is a hard one for me as I love to eat different things daily don’t like too much repetition. But if I’m going to narrow it down to something I love in Abu dhabi its between two places. Ascia de cuba’s black cod with avocado salsa and the ceviche red snapper or Zuma’s roasted lobster and their spicy short ribs. That is closest to a pick I can make as my list is long.
What’s the one food you avoid at all time?
A:Wheat, it’s the one food I try and have to avoid at all times even if it’s not easy as it is the most food now that causes me the worst side effects.
Finally, where can everyone keep up with you?
On social media my instagram account @b_fit_bites or through whatsapp. On 0508215861